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Canada Terror charges so soon after London attack would be unprecedented: experts

03:46  09 june  2021
03:46  09 june  2021 Source:   thecanadianpress.com

The latest news developments on the fatal attack in London, Ont.

  The latest news developments on the fatal attack in London, Ont. The latest news on the vehicle attack in London, Ont., that killed four members of a Muslim family and seriously injured a nine-year-old boy on Sunday (all times eastern): --- 9 p.m. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says reports that a vehicle attack that killed four people in London, Ont., was motivated by the fact the victims were Muslim is "horrific and heartbreaking." In a series of social media posts, O'Toole expressed his deepest---

Legal experts say it's probably too early for terror charges to be laid because investigators need sufficient evidence of motive. But the experts also expressed concern that prosecutors in Canada usually reserve terror charges for people with Islamist extremist views, which they say sends the message the law isn't being applied equally. Michael Nesbitt, a law professor at the University of Calgary, said it would be unprecedented for terror charges to be brought this quickly after an arrest, adding that Canada's terrorism laws are primarily aimed at preventing terrorist attacks .

It comes after Theresa May warned a further terror attack may be 'imminent' following Manchester bombing. Decision, taken at meeting of Government's emergency Cobra committee, will see 984 troops deployed. It is the first time the military has been sent out to patrol British streets since a similar threat in 2003. Britain took the unprecedented step of deploying hundreds of soldiers to patrol the streets of London today as the country woke up to a heightened terror threat following the Manchester suicide bombing . Around 1,000 heavily-armed military personnel from the Royal Artillery, Paratroop and Irish

The killing of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., on Sunday has been denounced as an act of terrorism by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but it's possible the terrorism label will never be reflected in the charges faced by the accused.

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Canadian Press

Legal experts say it's probably too early for terror charges to be laid because investigators need sufficient evidence of motive. But the experts also expressed concern that prosecutors in Canada usually reserve terror charges for people with Islamist extremist views, which they say sends the message the law isn't being applied equally.

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Latest updates: London attack . Play video BBC News ChannelVideo. Summary. Police say the death toll from Saturday's attacks has risen to eight. Australian au pair Sara Zelenak is named as the latest victim of the attacks . Police searching for French national Xavier Thomas have recovered a body from the Thames. A 30-year-old man was arrested for terrorism offences in the early hours of Wednesday.

Deciding when it is safe to treat wounded people is a perilously hard judgment call that needs urgent reassessment.

Leah West, a professor at Carleton University's Norman Paterson School of International Affairs who studies national security law, said terrorism charges could still be added in the London attack. A 20-year-old London, Ont., man is currently charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder.

"It may not have been immediately apparent that the violence was motivated by ideology, politics or religion, or immediately apparent that the intent of the accused was to create fear or intimidate a segment of the population," she said in an interview Tuesday. "And you need both of those elements, on top of serious violence, for terrorism."

On Sunday, four members of a Muslim family were killed in London, Ont., when a man allegedly drove his pickup truck into them while they were out for a walk. A nine-year-old boy was injured but survived. Police have said the victims were targeted because of their Muslim faith. After the House of Commons observed a moment of silence for the victims on Tuesday, Trudeau called the assault "a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred."

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Slideshow: Deadly terror attack in London >>>. “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days — no reason to be alarmed,” said Khan. They added that they were only notified of Adam’s death two days after he was killed.“We are confident that the Chicago Police Department and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability will conduct a thorough investigation, that there will be transparency, and that Toledo Family will find out the truth of what happened to Adam.”Police said the incident began at around.

The attack came soon after the terrorism threat level had been downgraded from critical to severe. That the threat level had been changed so soon after the Manchester bombing has raised questions. The levels are independently set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), housed in MI5’s headquarters at Thames House, London . JTAC reviews all intelligence relevant to international terrorism , at home and overseas, coordinating the activities of major government departments and agencies.

Michael Nesbitt, a law professor at the University of Calgary, said it would be unprecedented for terror charges to be brought this quickly after an arrest, adding that Canada's terrorism laws are primarily aimed at preventing terrorist attacks. "We only have two examples of cases where someone has committed murder and they have also been charged with terrorism," he said.

One case involved a 17-year-old Toronto man alleged to have killed one woman and injured another in a 2020 attack that prosecutors believe was motivated by the "incel" movement, which the Canadian Security Intelligence Service defines as a type of "violent misogyny." Terror charges were laid several months after the attack. The other case was a 2020 hammer attack by a 30-year-old Toronto man that left a woman dead.

West said prosecutors sometimes decide not to lay terror charges because of the additional burden of proving motive — something lawyers rarely have to do. With first-degree murder carrying the same sentence regardless of whether it was an act of terror, prosecutors may decide terror charges aren't worth the additional effort, she added.

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Seven people have died after a terrorist attack at London Bridge and Borough Market. Here is what we know so far. After a brief suspension in election campaigning in the wake of the attack a bitter row erupted over cuts to police funding, with Jeremy Corbyn backing calls for May to resign over her record on the issue while she was home secretary. The prime minister dodged accusations that police numbers had fallen by tens of thousands since 2010 and that the number of armed officers had also fallen.

Police say they believe all the attackers were killed after armed officers “fired an unprecedented number of rounds” to shoot them dead during their attack on Borough Market. One of the suspected attackers was described by neighbours as a married father of two who attended local mosques. On Monday, the first funeral of one of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack will take place. Eilidh MacLeod, who was 14, will be remembered in a ceremony at Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Castlebay on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.

West, who has worked as a national security litigation lawyer in the federal Justice Department, said prosecutors should be open to laying terrorism charges because of the importance of denouncing certain acts.


Video: Police say London vehicle attack victims ‘targeted because of their Islamic faith’ (Global News)

"We need to denounce terrorism when it is terrorism, no matter who the perpetrators or victims are, and it has not been applied equally or equitably in the past," she said, adding that she worries about the prime minister using the term "terrorist attack" when prosecutors still need to make an independent decision.

Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto, said prosecutors can charge someone with first-degree murder as a planned and deliberate homicide and murder by way of terrorist activity — charges he said prosecutors should have laid in the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting that left six dead. In that case, prosecutors did not lay terrorism charges.

"There's nothing that prevents the Crown from charging … planned and deliberate and terrorist activity, and if at the end of the day, the judge and the jury have a reasonable doubt about terrorist activity, so be it," he said in an interview Tuesday.

Shows of solidarity with Muslim community in London, Ont. continue, court case resumes Thursday

  Shows of solidarity with Muslim community in London, Ont. continue, court case resumes Thursday Thursday's court proceedings will occur just two days after thousands gathered at a vigil for the family and one day before a multi-faith march is set to take place.Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal and Afzaal's 74-year-old mother were killed after police say a pickup truck heading south on Hyde Park Road near South Carriage Road intentionally mounted the sidewalk and struck the family. Nine-year-old Fayez Afzaal suffered serious injuries.

Yusuf Faqari, the Quebec director of public affairs for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said labelling the killings a terrorist attack could help prevent further killings.

"These poor Canadians of Islamic origin lost their lives because of the faith that they practise," he said in an interview Tuesday. "What else do we need more there to call it what it is? It needs to be called a terrorist attack so it prevents other tragedies."

Nesbitt said that since Canada's terrorism laws were introduced 20 years ago, they've mostly been used to prosecute members of organized Islamist extremist groups. "If you only have one threat, and you're only prosecuting one threat, then that's not a problem," he said. "But all evidence we have suggests that there are multiple threats, including ones that have not been prosecuted for terrorism until the past year, maybe."

That's a concern for Roach as well, who points to the fact that Justin Bourque, who killed three RCMP officers in 2014, and Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette were not charged with terrorism.

"I think police and prosecutors need to accept that this far-right extremism now is a serious threat," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

Canadians need to step up to tackle online hate — even with ‘crazy uncles’, says expert .
Four members of a Muslim family were struck and killed in a vehicle attack in London, Ont., one week ago. Police said they believe the family was targeted because of their faith. A nine-year boy who survived the attack is now an orphan. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack as a "terrorist act," as did Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the National Council of Canadian Muslims last week. The attack has led to calls for the government to act on a promise to implement online hate legislation that would crack down on hateful material posted on the internet.

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